Ben Carrasquillo is a versatile trombonist who actively performs classical, jazz, and commercial music. He is currently pursuing his DMA in Trombone Performance from the University of Illinois, while also maintaining an active freelance career across the Midwest. He also maintains a private studio of middle and high school students in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Ben performs regularly with symphony orchestras in the Midwest, including Sinfonia da Camera, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the Danville Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. As a jazz and commercial player, he has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Temptations and the Four Tops, the Beach Boys, Jukebox Saturday Night, the Unexpected Boys, the national tour of Chicago: The Musical, Black Jacket Symphony, and more.
Ben is the co-director of the Iron Post Jazz Orchestra, a big band based out of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He founded the band with Dr. Robert Brooks with the goal of fostering new, original music for big band written by members of the ensemble. The band’s debut album is forthcoming. Ben is also a founding member of the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective, led by Chicago-based guitarist Jose Guzman. The ACJC is a latin jazz ensemble committed to writing and performing exciting music in a wide variety of Latin American styles. The band’s self-titled debut EP can be found on Spotify and other streaming platforms.
Ben was recently named a winner of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, making him the first trombonist in the history of the competition to achieve this honor. Other awards and honors include winning the Eastern Trombone Workshop (now American Trombone Workshop) Division 1 Classical Solo Competition (2012), competing as a finalist in the International Trombone Festival’s Robert Marsteller Competition (2013), the ETW Division 2 Classical Solo Competition (2014), and the ATW Division 1 Jazz Solo Competition (2015), and being named a member of the Fellow Class at the 2013 Alessi Seminar. In the summer of 2015, Ben was a member of the Disneyland All-American College Band, a highly prestigious program that selects 21 outstanding college musicians from across the United States to perform for 11 weeks at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. During this time he worked under Dr. Ron McCurdy of the University of Southern California and performed with world-renowned musicians such as Alex Iles, Sal Lozano, Wayne Bergeron, Gregg Field, John Clayton, Jiggs Whigham, Steve Houghton, and Rex Richardson.
Ben received his bachelor’s degree in music performance and jazz studies from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. His teachers were Jon Whitaker and Chris Kozak. He completed his master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, under the tutelage of Jim Pugh.